Pope's Message to Participants at the Festival of the Family

The future of humanity passes through the family

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Here is a translation of the Message that Pope Francis sent to participants at the Festival of the Family (Riva del Garda, December 1-6, 2014), on the theme: “The Life and Work Ecosystem: Feminine Occupation and Birth, Well-being and Economic Growth.”

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On the occasion of the Festival of the Family, underway at Riva del Garda, on the theme “The Life and Work Ecosystem. Feminine Occupation and Birth, Well-being and Economic Growth,” I wish to greet and express my appreciation to the organizers, the reporters and all the participants for their commitment in favor of the family. As citizens, as Christians, as families and family associations, coming from different professions and environments, during these days you put in common experiences, concerns and plans. I wish you a profitable meeting!

The subject addressed, which takes up and completes a series of reflections that you already began on other aspects in past editions, is very important. You propose to offer ideas for reflection and operative paths so that the family will be increasingly a protagonist in the social, cultural and political context of the country. In fact, you are well aware of the irreplaceable and fundamental  position that the family occupies, be it in civil society, be it in the ecclesial community. The future of humanity passes through the family; therefore, it is necessary to allow it to play the role that corresponds to it. However, it is not enough to confirm the importance of the family and to affirm its rights: there must be concrete consideration on how the tasks of the family and those of society can be articulated, in particular, in regard to relations between professional and family life.

The family has a mission that is proper to it, at the service of its members, of their development, of life: it has rights and, therefore, it is in need of supports and guarantees to be able to exercise them. On the other hand, the family also has duties towards society, that is, it must offer its collaboration at the service of the community. This is a privileged environment in which to practice solidarity and subsidiarity harmoniously, that is to say, a synergy between public and private, between businesses and families. Precisely because of the commitment and responsibility required by bringing children into the world and their education, families need appropriate help on the part of public agencies and businesses, from a point of view of mutual collaboration. The worrying demographic trend requires, on the part of all interested subjects, an extraordinary and courageous strategy in favor of families. From here, an economic re-launching can also begin for the country. And reconsidered and resolved also in this perspective is the drama of unemployment, especially youth unemployment. Lack of work disheartens a person, who sees himself useless in his own eyes, and it impoverishes society, which is deprived of valid and willing forces.

I think of the elaboration of family policies, of all that concerns the juridical and social statute of families in general and the help that must be offered to those who are disadvantaged on the material and moral plane. In particular, attention must be paid to feminine occupation. Many women see the need to be recognized better in their rights, in the value of the tasks they carry out habitually in the different sectors of social and professional life, in their aspirations within the family and in society. Some of them are exhausted and almost crushed by the amount of commitments and tasks, without finding sufficient understanding and help. It is necessary to find a way so that women, due to economic needs, are not constrained to have a job that is too harsh and a schedule that is too heavy, which are added to all their responsibilities in managing the home and educating the children. But above all it is necessary to consider that the commitments of women, at all levels of family life, also constitute an unsurpassed contribution to life and to the future of the society.

Dear friends, I hope that the Festival of the Family will bring the hoped for fruits and, while I assure you of my remembrance in prayer, I gladly send my Apostolic Blessing, to support every intention and project of goodness in favor of the family institution, which has always been and remains the vital cell of society.

From the Vatican, December 2, 2014 


[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
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